Families taking in the Southeast Alaska State Fair in Haines this year will get some special attention.
"There's a little bit more of an emphasis on family-oriented acts," said Judy Murphy, operations manager for the fairgrounds. "We have a little farm petting zoo that will be coming up with their milk cow and their pygmy goats and sheep and chicken and rabbits. The magician, the clowns, the mime, some of the strolling acts ... should be really fun."
The fair, now in its 33rd year, begins Aug. 8 and continues until Aug. 12 at the fairgrounds in Haines. In addition to street performers, dancing, contests and vendors, the fair features musical and dramatic acts from Alaska, Canada and the Lower 48 at Payson Pavilion, the main stage.
"I'm really excited about having Medicine Dream, the Native American group that's coming down from Anchorage," said Murphy. "One of the Tlingit elders is going to do the opening ceremonies. ... There's kind of a Native flavor that's playing back in as we get back to the roots of this event and back to the roots of Southeast."
Juneau's Tlingit Dancers will perform, as will a capella group Mucho Mojo, belly-dancing troupe Daughters of the New Moon, The Panhandle Crabgrass Revival Band and Peabody's Monster. Other performers will include folk/rock/jam band Yukon Ryder, Bill Stevens, Mike Westhues, The Undertakin' Daddies, Nicole Edwards, master magician Terry Godfrey and Pastor Lunchmeat and the Pimentos.
The headliner for the event is Peter Rowan's Texas Trio, with bluegrass band The Damnations TX opening for the trio.
"We're always glad to have Peter back," Murphy said. "He's been wanting to (return)."
The Texas groups will perform a benefit concert at the Chilkat Center for the Arts on Aug. 11 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door.
The fair generally draws 7,000 to 8,000 people, though Murphy hopes increased publicity will up this year's total attendance.
"I'm hoping for a quarter of a million people," she said with a laugh. "As many as want to come. We're having a party."
Thanks to the fast ferries, transportation to and from the fair is easier for Juneau residents. Boats reach Haines in the morning and leave in the evening, and the fair will provide a shuttle to and from the grounds, with stops at the Visitor's Center and several hotels.
"It'll make transportation really easy," Murphy said. "People can fly into town - don't need to bring your car - or take the fast ferry. You can come out, have a great time, take the day boat back."
Admission is $5 a day, with children five and under free. The fair will be open from 5 to 10 p.m. Aug. 8, noon to 10 p.m. Aug. 9 and 10, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 11 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 12. Call (907) 766-2476 for more information.